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Lighter car trend boosts US aluminium scrap volumes

United States – The North American market is flooded with aluminium scrap and the situation will probably not change in the short term, it was stressed by David Rosenblum, vice president of non-ferrous at scrap metal major OmniSource, during Metal Bulletin’s 23rd Recycled Aluminium Conference held this week in the Spanish capital Madrid.

Owing to softening growth in the emerging economies – particularly China – scrap demand from these markets has decreased, according to Rosenblum, while a strong US dollar has also ‘discouraged’ overseas shipments.

At the same time, demand for secondary aluminium in the USA has increased thanks to fast-growing use of aluminium in car production. ‘Secondary automotive production is robust,’ said Rosenblum, and this situation was unlikely to change as rolling mill capacity in the USA is ramped up to cater for automotive demand for body sheet.

This trend has resulted in a significant increase over the last six months in inhouse scrap and scrap from closed-loop manufacturing, Rosenblum explained. As a consequence, demand for third-party scrap has shrunk.

Rosenblum estimated that global light vehicle production would climb from 88 million units in 2015 to 90.2 million units next year, and then to almost 105 million units by 2020.

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